Sunday, April 13, 2014

South Africa and Mozambique to Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Rhino Poaching

A pair of white rhinos

It has recently been reported that the South African Department of Environmental Affairs is to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its Mozambican equal next week, in order to stem the poaching of rhinos. Since the beginning of the year, roughly 277 rhinos have been killed in South Africa with most of the killings occurring in the famed Kruger National Park. According to South African National Parks (SANParks), the collaborative agreement will enable authorize South African rangers to go after the poachers even if they cross the border into Mozambique. At the same time, the Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching (OSCAP) stated that it will act against any propositions to legalize the trade of rhino horns. At the end of a Rhino Trade Conference in Pretoria, OSCAP director Allison Thomson confirmed the organization's stand against rhino poaching. According to Thomson, OSCAP is working hard, both domestically and internationally, in order to stop any proposals to legalize the rhino horn trade. She further added that the conference ended on a positive note with participants agreeing to guarantee that all South African people were informed of the risks linked with the legalization of the rhino horn trade.

It is very beneficial to see what South Africa is doing, in order to prevent any further loss in its rhino population. Not only has it signed a mutual agreement with its neighbor Mozambique to combat poaching, but local groups like the OSCAP is working very hard on both domestic and international levels to halt any proposals of legalizing the trade of rhino horns. Rhinos in South Africa have been decimated drastically in recent years, due to the growing demand for their horns in Asia. These illicit activities are not just conducted by poachers, but also organized criminal syndicates. These organizations, which normally monopolize on criminal activities such as extortion, money laundering, prostitution, racketeering, and trafficking of arms, drugs, and people, have also resorted to poaching and smuggling of wildlife. This is why it is extremely crucial to combat such criminal networks by any means necessary, in order to help save lives of both people and animals.

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